Tuesday, January 31, 2006

House of Representatives Vote Against Children and Mentally Ill

The House of Representatives is expected to vote, February 1, on an ill-conceived budget reconciliation bill. The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) warns that, if passed, this measure will irreparably tear apart the only safety net for millions of Americans.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) advised congressional leaders late last week of the devastating impact of the bill’s Medicaid cuts. Acknowledging that the human impact could be far deeper, CBO projected that:

* 75% of the bill’s Medicaid cuts would harm beneficiaries.

* Beneficiaries will carry billions in savings through lost benefits, increasing from roughly 900,000 enrollees sustaining such loss in 2010 to an estimated 1.6 million in 2015.

* Most of the reductions in benefits would be for services such as dental, vision, and mental health.

* Billions in savings will be achieved by reducing the number of Americans covered by Medicaid and increasing the barriers to coverage.

* 60% of those losing coverage will be children.

* 13 million people (including 4.5 million children) will face higher cost sharing to access health care).

* 80% of the savings (more than $5.5 billion) from higher cost-sharing would be realized from people foregoing needed services or medications because of increased out-of-pocket costs.

* Thousands would lose coverage altogether because of new requirements to pay premiums, climbing to a high of 65,000 losing coverage in 2015.

Without treatments and services, many adults with mental illness face homelessness, incarceration, serious health problems, substance abuse and even suicide. For children, loss of coverage and barriers to treatment and early evaluation may lead to a downward spiral of school failure, poor employment opportunities, and poverty in adulthood. Any “ savings” this legislation might produce will be overtaken by people becoming sicker, resulting in increased costs to taxpayers and communities in emergency-care services, homelessness, penal and juvenile-justice facilities, and even loss of life.

These cuts are being made so that George Bush can fund his tax giveaways to the rich. Let's vote these creeps out in 2006.


  1. Anonymous9:03 AM

    reduced to copy and paste.

    your smart

  2. Thanks, but that should be you're smart.